“I always wanted to play Santa,” my husband said, and instantly he looked like a little boy, and I couldn’t help but laugh. We had just stopped at an estate sale, and there it was in all its glory, a Santa costume with belt and beard.
It was a nice suit, really heavy, one of the better ones. Needless to say, he bought it and at home the examination began.“I will need Santa’s boots, and glasses, also I don’t like the beard,” that was his verdict, and somehow he managed to put me in command.
I spent hours shopping for Santa’s boots; tried to find the perfect gold-rimmed glasses and the right beard.
The outfit was complete a few weeks later. One of our neighbors was a teacher at an elementary school back then, and she was thrilled when my husband offered his Santa service for free.
Planning a Santa event is not that easy, it requires more than you would think. The teacher wrote a little story about every kid, and we crafted a big golden book to hide the notes. Each child would get small gifts and candy, so I sewed an impressive red bag and most importantly I had to alter a pillow to tummy-size because Santa has a big belly. Mrs. Santa was busy.
A week before the big event I checked everything one more time. The suit seemed clean, but I decided to wash it anyway -just in case. I went into the laundry room and unpacked the suit when I heard someone calling my name. I never lock our front door during the day. I don’t see the point in it. We have three big dogs, and any break in attempt would be a suicide mission, so why bother?
I walked into our living room with the Santa costume in my hand. I didn’t think anything of it, until I saw the face of the 6-year-old kid from next door. He looked at me in absolute disbelieve, and his eyes got bigger and bigger. Finally, he found his voice, “Santa lives here?”
“No, no Santa does not live here,” I stuttered.
I stood there and tried to find a way out of my misery.
“But that’s his suit,” he said and pointed at the outfit in my hand.
I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to burst his bubble, but I didn’t want him to think Santa would live in our house either.
“I do his laundry,” I managed to say.
“Youuuu dooooo Santa’s laundry?” he stood there, and I could hear the respect in his voice. Suddenly, I was somebody; I felt like had just gotten a promotion.
“That is so cool,” he shrieked, and he looked at me with new admiration.
I stood there and didn’t know how to correct the situation. I felt so bad but also amused. If there is a hell, I am going straight to it, I thought and couldn’t help giggling over it. I asked him not to tell anybody, and he didn’t. None of the other kids came by. Nobody asked me any question, not even his parents. It was our secret.
Christmas came and went, then New Year. The kid stopped by as usual, never mentioned the Santa incident either, so I forgot all about it.
A few months later his Mom stopped by and told me that he had spilled the beans. Their washer had broken that week, and they needed a new one.
“Go to Bridget’s house, she must have the best washer in the world,” her son told her, and so she came to visit me.
The best stories are written by life itself. I will never forget that year, and even if I could, I know my friends won’t let me. This story comes up every Christmas.